Old Horizontal | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

1,897 Ratings
Old HorizontalOld Horizontal

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Massive amounts of barley malts, combined with fresh harvest American hops make it aromatic and spicy on the nose. Floral, fruity aromas slide into honeyed malt depth with lingering sensations of candied and citrus fruit. Late warming alcohol brings all of these flavors into wonderful harmony to finish.

Malt: Imported 2 row German malts
Hops: Whole flower American hops
Food Pairings: Meat pies and English cheese

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-23-2001

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Ratings: 1,897 |  Reviews: 1,111
Photo of gpcollen1
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 variety... Served at 48 F, current cellar temp.

Pours a beautiful shade of ruby amber into my Veltins 0.2L glass. Head at about an inch and sloooowly settles - a very light and fluffy brown head. This one has light and sweet aromas more of the candied sugar variety and lacking in some of deep dark fruit.

Taste is simple yet nice, a pleasant rich sweetness that is not overdone followed by a gentle rush of hops that helps to dry out the tongue and let the sweetness mellow. This is a nice barleywine. I am not so certain it tasted the same as the one the other night so I may re-review.

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Photo of gdfan47
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

first off I just havent had alot of barley wines

A- Pours a nice copper/reddish color with a little white head
S- wow all over the place... cherries, alcohol, figs, sugar, some hops
T- the ripe fruit comes out, the beer itself taste sweet, but the fruit is not overwelming, the hops also it you on the way down
M- Realy nice, this one was given to me pretty damn cold, silky, as it gets warmer it tastes even stronger
D- a very high abv, hard for me to drink a few of these.. but it sounds like for the style they nailed it

ill try it again for sure

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Photo of doctchad
3.62/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Never knew Victory made a barleywine; and in typical victory style they gave it a great name, and label.

Pretty strong, good color and taste; although it seems it was more of a middle of the line barelywine.

But in the end if you like barleywine or victory products i think its worth round or two to enjoy. I have been to the Victory brewing company a couple times and never seen this there. So i was surprised when i found it at a beer store.


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Photo of HopEnthusiast
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Holy Moly. Poured a clear reddish copper color with a big off white / tan head. The aroma has a nose of fruit and malt mostly with a little hops mixed in. Great smell. The taste starts off with bit of hops and then the warming sensation kicks in along with the slight taste of fruit. This is a great ice fishing beer. Nice great tasting, medium bodied barleywine that is not to bitter and will keep you warm in any weather.

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Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Umm, wow. This is a huge beer. Brown pour with no head. Thick aroma of malt, caramel, pine, and alcohol. Heavy taste of the same, with maple, sugar, oily hop resin, and a big alcohol warmer. This knocked me on my ass, but it was well worth it. One of the better beers by Victory

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Photo of bigdeuce
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice malty high head on the pour, but it does die down quickly. Rosey red colour, to purple. Fruity esthers, nutty characteristics on the nose. Some rapsberry and cherry notes. A bit thin on the mouthfeel, something lacking. Very strong alcohol, blasts through. A after dinner/ before bed treat for sure. Keep one around for a special night by the fire, but don't leave the house...lol

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Photo of swizzlenuts
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer is poured a dark amber with a good centimeter head. Okay retention on the beer as well, and not much lacing. There is a nice sugary sweet with hints of caramel nose on the beer. The beer is quite sweet and have a rich caramel flavour with a finishing of chocolate. The sweetness almost reminds me of cherries. Not very many hops in this beer, but a small hint of some piny hops come through at the end. There is a nice balance in the beer and a unique flavour, but it's some lacking something, perhaps a huge hop kick? The mouthfeel is nice and creamy, but I would like a little less carbonation though. The beer isn't too bad to drink, but it's not something I'd drink all night I don't think.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass: freshness date clearly marked on the front label.

P: Pours a deep amber color from the bottle and sits in the glass a dark, rust-colored deep copper with ruby highlights. Chunks of yeast floating around after swirling around the last bit of liquid in the bottom of the bottle and pouring it in. Frothy, yellowish-orange tinted off-white white shows decent retention, but doesn't leave much lace in its wake.

A: Deep whiffs register some notes of yeast, bready malts, caramel, resinous hop oil that comes off slightly piney, spicy, and earthy, with some alcohol to boot.

T: Old Horizontal starts a bit sweet while being malt-forward in the bready taste, complimented by some notes of caramel and quite a noticeable alcoholic presence. The hops do provide some balance with a spicy, earthy hops taste that creates an overall sense of bitterness through the pleasantly dry finish. The alcohol dominates the tail-end, seeming to be mellow from the start but keeps building stronger until it finishes rather harsh and abrasive. Alcohol aside, the spicy hop resin leaves a long aftertaste that tingles the tongue for a while.

M: Feels good on the palate. A notch below full-bodied, smooth and slightly chewy on the tongue.

D: While this is decent, the drinkability is hindered by the un-masked, vodka-like, alcohol that overpowers at times. 11% takes its toll quickly.

Notes: Seeing as how this is my first attempt at a barleywine, I am now very intrigued by the style and will continue to explore deeper. Old Horizontal is pretty good, and while I do understand that the presence of alcohol is expected with a barleywine, this one tends to dominate all of the other flavors. It is a bit rough around the edges, leaving me to wonder what it would taste like with some age on it. Pretty good beer, and recommended to someone who would like to introduce themselves to the style. Not bad at all.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This well regarded barleywine starts with a orange tinted light brown color with a hazy center and a thin but very temporary tan head. The nose is impressive and pungent, with plenty of dark malt hiding all kinds of fruits, including figs and raisins, as well as a bit of fresh baked banana bread. Toffee and caramel are also in the frame.

The 11 percent is noticeable right away with a flash of booze burn but the fruits and malt take control quickly. Some surprising hop balance is evident in the finish and despite the abv, this one finishes smooth and satisfying, especially considering the "taking it to eleven" factor and the style. I enjoyed a few slices of sharp cheddar with this one and really enjoyed the overall effect. Other than the estimable Old Nick (which is obviously an English BW), this may be the best example of the style it's been my experience to try.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- A nice hazy burgundy color. Finger sized head that left a some lacework on the glass.

S- Tones of caramel, burned malts and fruit (figs, raisins). Also detected a hint of hops presence in the background.

T- A nice mixture of sugared malts, caramel, molasses and hops. The hops were at the forefront of each sip and faded to a warm sensation of alcohol as the beer was consumed.

M- Thick and syrupy. Something about the finish was just a little off.

D- At 11% the warming sensation of alcohol was definitely felt. The syrupy and unrefined texture prevent me from consuming more.

Overall, a great barleywine. I think this one could have used a little more age on it.

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Photo of JEdmund
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

*Beer is most likely about a year old as it's released seasonally in December and January and I bought this back in April (and kept it in the fridge). Drink by date of Jan. 15, 2013!*

A bright tobacco brown body with a rich, dense head (that settles fast); looks heavy in the glass as the tight bubbles rise to form the head

Pretty hoppy, reminding me more of a DIPA; lots of sugary tropical fruit

Taste & Mouthfeel
Big flavor! Just a ton of burnt caramel sits on my tongue after the first sip; hops are there, though somewhat faded tasting; noticeable heat in the finish from the get-go; good level of carbonation with a medium body; I'd like some more heft in the body, and there's an acidic quality of this I find off-putting; flavors do soften and mesh better towards the end after it's warmed

It's a good barley wine, but not a great barley wine. There's just something not doing it for me, and I think it's the overwhelming sweetness and burnt toffee flavors dominating the palate. I'd really like more bready malts to even it all out. Maybe it's in an awkward phase of transition at one year old? I'd certainly give it another chance.

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Photo of midaszero
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Amber red body with one finger of white head

S - Mix of booze and malts

T - Little sweet with good malt presence. Some dark fruit flavors and caramel

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - Pretty good but you can definitely feel the kick. Age should do it well

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Photo of TonyT
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter glass.

Poured dark reddish copper, leaving a thin off white head that dissipates to the side of the glass, and slight lacing. Spice notes come through with a sweet smell of fig. The smell transfers into the taste. Slightly spicy with the fig taste and a caramel sweetness that reminds me of grapes covered with honey. A cola taste comes through on the end with a subtle alcohol burn. The mouthfeel is thin in the front; minor hop dryness starts in the middle, with carbonation finishing with the alcohol. There is a hop after-taste that lingers. The taste makes this beer deceptively drinkable, but the 11.0 ABV cannot allow more than 2 the most...It's not called Old Horizontal for nothing.

I have been able to enjoy this beer many times through the last few years. It's definitely a winter staple and one of my favorite Victory Ales. Happy Winter.

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Photo of CoolJosh
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the second barleywine that I have ever had, and was really turned off by the style after my abysmal first experience.

A An unbelievably hazy cranberry red, which pours a fizzy yellowed tooth head that dissipates in less than five seconds. clumps of yeast floating around add to an already interesting look.

S Slight hops, really great hints of caramel and tons of molasses, and a really great sense of sweetness. Some brown sugar as well, though my nose can't distinguish.

T Smooth start that leads into the caramel and molasses at the end. Not as sweet to the taste buds as it was to the nose. I feel like the taste is somewhat abrupt, and its hard to pick and pull flavors, but enjoyable nonetheless.

M Fairly carbonated which gives it an initially airy feel, but as it sits in your mouth for a second or two, the smoothness comes out well, and finishes rather sticky on the tongue.

This experience with the style went much better then the last, and will definitely be branching out a lot more from here on out.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/02/06 Walk the Line Barleywine Festival, Dunedin, FL. 1998 vintage. The beer took on a copper hue with streaks of red around the edges. The head of foam was tan. The aroma was classic Barleywine with a dark fruitiness backed up by some caramel and a hint of hops. It was difficult to tell which type of hops they were just from the aroma. The flavor was first rate. The cherry and dark grape fruitiness mixed with the smooth creamy sweet caramel. There was an undercurrent of pine hops and a sense of alcohol.

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Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Impressive four-finger head with great lasting power. It does not leave much lace. The color is ruby-amber with a slight haze to the liquid.

Semi-sweet aromas of caramel and maple sugar; light hop in the background. Inviting.

Lots of caramel and alcohol oiliness. Good hop presence, but not enough to create a "balanced" beer; not that I would expect it in the style. The liquor has the consistency of brandy with a moderate level of carbonation--Very rich! The alcohol is present through out the taste, swallow and aftertaste. In fact, my first thought was that the beer had warmed up significantly even though I am drinking it within five minutes of pulling it from my fridge.

This is definitely something special, although I couldn't have more than one a night. It may be the quintessential offering in the Barley Wine style. I'd love to try it in a flight (with very small glasses).

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2006 vintage bottle that I had in the fridge for a few months. I decided to take it out and use it for a nightcap last night. Allowed to warm up to around fifty degrees before decanting, this twelve ounce bottle was poured into an over sized wine glass. Consumed on 11/06/2008.

The pour was more then decent. A nice hazy, and cloudy ,mixture on this one. A nice reddish tinted light brown is what was immediately apparent in the glass, with a touch of white foam on the top that reached a height of around an inch and a half before finally settling down into a thin covering across the top of the glass.

The aroma was nice and rich. Classic Barley wine here with a nice caramel sugar, toffee and just sweet candy like malt flavors. Some light notes of alcohol, but again nothing that was terribly off. Some light notes of fruit as it started to warm. The flavor was more of the same, though a little plain for my palate on here. Some nice notes of caramel, toffee again, some light fig like fruit flavors as well, but nowhere near the level that I would have expected. Nicely hidden alcohol profile, especially for being around 11%, nice medium feel with a tight carbonation profile that kept it from feeling dull in anyway and that light syrup like thickness that wrapped it all up very well. A smooth sipper, again the alcohol very well hidden, let this one deceptively creep up on you.

Overall not a bad barley wine, admittedly not my favorite, but not bad a at all,. I would have no issues with this one on tap, and cannot wait to have this years come out.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy ruby, orange, amber color with a bubbly off white head that sticks around for a bit. Smells of piny citrusy hops. A little bread and caramel for good measure. Tastes of caramel malts, crisp citrus hops and a bit of alcohol in there too. Thick mouthfeel and body. Definitely a sipper here. Great thick barley wine.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a. Pours a rich burnt straw color, with hues of gold and red shining through. A fairly beefy head of a slightly off-white color sits atop, leaving behind some fair lacing for a barlewine, but nothing out of this world.

s. smells like a good barleywine, and what I imagine when someone says Barleywine. Some heavy bready malts on the verge of yeasty, with sweetness of caramel, dulce de leche, raisins, figs, and a hint of maple. The aroma is finished by just a subtle hint of some piney hops that seem to go hand in hand with a touch of alcohol esters. Not overwhelming at all.

t. Tastes like barleywine - in both a positive and negative. Candied figs, candied hops, and candied roasted malts. This is definitely a sweet one, in the best way possible. The bitterness is almost nonexistent except for the subtle pine hop taste which is sucked back by the sweet and malt so as to not bitter the tongue. Maple and brown sugar notes round out the sweetness, while there's some indefinable spice notes that aren't in the average barleywine, like cardamom, szechuan peppercorns, clove, and anise. An interesting mix that stands on the plank of too sweet, but is held together nicely.

m. A full barleywine, with some carbonation to stand up to the viscosity. It veers away from slickness and syrupyness, with almost a hint of light and thinness. It's truly a pleasure to sip on, and doesn't feel anything like sipping syrup. The alcohol is barely perceptible in the mouth, with only hints if an alcohol numbness on the tongue and a hint of warming in the throat.

d. Definitely drinkable. This is a stellar barleywine, and would be an amazing introduction to the style. It's fairly middle of the road with some tendencies toward the sweet side of barleywines. Aside from a bit of spiciness, there's nothing that really makes this one stand out from others, but sometimes that's a good thing. And the price isn't bad either, which certainly can't hurt drinkability.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Sam's Quik Shop, Durham, NC. Poured into an Allagash flute.

Appearance: Pours a thick but surprisingly light in shade dirty reddish beer, with an initially huge, foamy three-finger tan head. The head begins to recede quickly and then slows down until there's a healthy one-finger of solid foam left. The head itself looks really juicy and moist, not like your traditional crunchy, sticky head that sticks around for a while. Since the beer is actually not entirely opaque, some lazy, pinpoint carbonation can be seen slowly moving up towards the fluff.

Aroma: A very complex and inviting aroma. The malt profile is great, with plenty of lighter toffee-like notes as well as darker toasty notes, including one that quite literally smells like a well-done piece of 12-grain toast. Hints of coffee, chocolate, caramel dance around, as do some darker fruits. Lighter fruits - white grapes seem prominent - mix with a devilishly spicy alcohol, made me cough the first time I got a whiff. Still, great aroma.

Taste: Similar to the nose in almost every way, with perhaps a little more chocolate and dark fruits than I initially picked up. There's a nice wholesome dark malt profile, light fruity esters - I get bananas and Gala apples, now, in addition to Concord grapes - a restrained hop bitterness with a few grassy, leafy notes, and a hot, spicy alcohol that kicks in way too early.

Mouthfeel: Pretty mellow, with a mild effervescence, a creamy, pillowy mouthfeel that's largely even and fine-to-medium bubbled.

Drinkability: I'm partial to barleywines, and though it's not my favorite, I agree with what many below me have said in that this one has a lot of potential if it could be laid down for a few years. The complexity of the flavors is right up there with the best of them, but they're masked and the drinker is distracted by the alcohol burn. It did pair well with some extra sharp Wisconsin cheddar, though. I plan to buy a sixer, lay it down, and give it a shot in 12 to 18 months.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 12 oz bottle received from dyan about 4 months back. Into an 8 oz clear plastic water cup, I'm crunkin this bitch up ghetto style dogg. The beer pours a hazy dark brown with a solid tan head that retains well, lace clinging to the sides of the cup.

Smell: Tons of malty sweetness, molasses, butterscotch, fruit cake, etc - smells like a barleywine.

Taste & mouthfeel: Rich caramel malt and fruitcake up front, some pleasant undertones of toast and nuts along with a hint of fusels. The mouthfeel is big and chewy, appropriate for the style, and sweet from start to finish. There's a moderate hop bitterness, but age has mellowed this beer quite a bit. Pleasant stuff all in all, not my favorite style by any means but I enjoyed it all the same.

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Photo of argock
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle from 2007 into an oversized wine glass.

A: Tawny-raddish hue with 1/2-1 inch of caramel-colored head with scant lacing.

S: Aromas are a bit soft although elements of vanilla, cocoa, dark fruit, floral hops and alcohol esters are apparent.

T: The flavor is much sweeter than I would have imagined with a plenty of brown/candy sugar flavors, raisins, and butterscotch coupled with leafy and lightly floral hops that are most evident in the finish. Alcohol is a background player, which enhances this brew.

M: Exceedingly velvety smooth and easy to drink, which is amazing given the 11% ABV.

D: Old Horizontal would be a very good "first barleywine" to start one's foray into the style. It is smooth and easy to drink without the bulkiness of many barleywines. It still encapsulates many of the style's flavor profile possibilities well and very enjoyably.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice barleywine here from a great brewery. This is definitely better than Brooklyn's and on par with Sierra Nevada's in my opinion. This one seems to be the hoppiest of the group which makes a bit more drinkable for me. It's a very high 11% ABV but you would swear it was 5%. It almost has a different taste each sip which I thought was sort of interesting. A very good beer.

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Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a brownish red, about 2 fingers of fluffy tan head.

Smells of malt, alcohol, some mild spice, pine.

Taste isn't as great as I thought it would be, although it is good. Very malty, some smoke and wood flavors, pine notes as well as some background spice.

Mouthfeel is a bit dry, not as sticky or syrupy as most barleywines I've had. Medium bodied with less carbonation than I want.

Drinkability is good. This isn't the best barley I've had but it's a pretty good choice.

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Photo of philbe311
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Ruby red color with honey toned highlights... Appealing tan head... Lively carbonation... Heavy appealing lacing... Coats glass... Dark, but still translucent...

S - Rich sweet scent... Caramel... Honey... Spices... Apples... Malt...

T - Alcohol... Raisins... Apricot... Invigorating grains... Sublte hops @ finish...

M - Warming from 11% ABV, but not completely overwhelming... Hearty... Smooth... Creamy... Rich... Taste hangs on in a good way...

D - Definitely a delicate sipper, but a very good sipper... You need to allow the beer to "swish" in your mouth to enjoy the true flavors that are hidden and appreciate the true mouthfeel... A job well done by Victory...

Bottle / Artwork - A playful sleeping yellow moon is front and center... Various colored fonts add character to this tastefully designed bottle...

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Old Horizontal from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,897 ratings.
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